[NBLUG/talk] Concerning Linux compatibility with the new MacBook Pro

Lincoln Peters sampln at sbcglobal.net
Fri Jan 13 19:50:59 PST 2006

(Just in case anyone's interested...)

For those of you who have been hiding under a rock since Tuesday, Steve Jobs 
has unveiled two new Macintosh computers that are powered by Intel 
processors: a new iMac, and a new line of laptops called the MacBook Pro.  
Apple's shift to Intel chips has led quite a few people to speculate that the 
new Macs could dual-boot MacOS X and Windows.  Of course, I'm sure that any 
Mac fans on this list would only think of dual-booting MacOS X and Linux.

Anyway, I was at the Macworld Expo this week, and was able to convince one of 
the Apple representatives to let me try to boot a MacBook Pro from a Knoppix 
CD (v4.0.2 for PC, burned by myself to a CD-RW the previous day).  While the 
MacBook Pro recognized the CD when I put in (i.e. it appeared on the 
desktop), it was unable to boot from it.  I restarted the computer, holding 
down the 'C' key after it made the start-up chime (which is how you tell a 
new-world Mac to boot from a CD), and it STILL booted from the hard disk.  
And unfortunately, there was no indication as to WHY it didn't boot from the 
CD, although the information I've dug up thus far via Google suggests that 
it's because the Intel Mac's boot sequence uses EFI 
<http://www.intel.com/technology/efi/> instead of a traditional BIOS.

Obviously, it's virtually impossible to draw any conclusions from such a 
simple experiment, but it looks like installing an OS other than MacOS X on 
one of these Intel Macs is NOT going to be as easy as some people had hoped.  
It should still be possible, though, as EFI was originally developed for 
Intel's IA-32 processor, and Linux does support the IA-32.  We'll probably 
learn more once these new Macs start shipping next month.

Lincoln Peters
<sampln at sbcglobal.net>

I think I'll KILL myself by leaping out of this 14th STORY WINDOW while
reading ERICA JONG'S poetry!!

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